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Honour Loss and Damage Fund pledges, developed countries urged

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The call for transparency and accountability in contributions to the Loss and Damage Fund has been emphasized by African leaders.

In accordance with the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility and respective capabilities, developed countries have been urged to fulfill their pledges to the Fund.

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This message was conveyed at the third Africa Regional Conference on Loss and Damage, held in Lilongwe, Malawi from March 21st to 22nd.

The main objective of the conference was to strategize for faster access to the loss and damage funds.

During the conference, African leaders expressed their concern over developed countries constantly changing their commitments and warned against disguising existing climate financing, humanitarian assistance, and Official Development Assistance as loss and damage pledges.

Despite contributing less than 4% of greenhouse gas emissions, African countries bear a significant burden due to the emission levels of richer nations.

Former President of Malawi and Loss and Damage Fund ambassador, Dr. Joyce Banda, emphasized the need for action instead of just talk. She stressed that Climate Change is a reality and Climate Justice is imperative.

“Climate Change is real noting that Climate Justice is a must. Climate Change and its accompanying effects have become a major contributor to Africa’s worsening poverty. I am advocating for action and action now.” Dr. Banda said.

She also highlighted the devastation caused by Cyclone Freddy in Malawi, which resulted in the loss of over 1000 lives and destruction of infrastructure. However, not enough assistance has been provided.

Banda commended the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) for their support in this war.

On his part, PACJA Executive Director Mithika Mwenda emphasized the importance of not losing sight of the real Climate Crisis issues while calling upon stakeholders to prioritise grassroots voices in the advocacy efforts to shape effective climate finance policies.

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director Mithika Mwenda.

He said the USD700 million (Sh92.3 billion) Loss and Damage Fund pledge was insufficient noting that the establishment and operationalisation of Loss and Damage Fund was key but there was need to fight for more resources for the fund.

“The paltry pledges of USD700 million to the Loss and Damage Fund, fatally insufficient to meet the recovery responses to a single episode of climate disaster such as that caused by Cyclone Freddy in Malawi estimated at USD900 million.” He said.

“We need more partnerships so that we build a bigger voice for the Loss and Damage Fund. We need go ensure that developed countries honor their pledges.” Said Mithika.

Adding that: “PACJA is ready to engage with partnerships of unprecedented proportions and this is where it starts.”

In a declaration at the two day Africa Regional Conference on Loss and Damage African states spelt out a number of issues they want to see done in regards to the Loss and Damage Fund;

The leaders declared the Advisory Board Decision in Geneva is null and void; condemning the apparent subversion of the laid-down procedures by the Advisory Board.

To this end they called on the Chair of the Committee of the Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and Chair of AGN to pronounce themselves, and expeditiously compel the Advisory Board to respect and adopt the recommendations of UNOPS-UNDRR.

Similarly, the leaders noted that the Imperative of climate justice should inform global response to loss and damage; saying they stand by the principles of climate justice, CBDR-C, human rights including children’s rights, and gender equality, in addressing Loss and Damage.

Consequently, the leaders declared that the Board should be driven by the best interest of people at the frontline of the climate crisis by rising above partisan interests and develop sound and adequate operational modalities, delivery mechanisms, access modalities, financial instruments and funding structures that facilitate adequate and timely access of the funds to vulnerable communities and countries.

Additionally, they said the Loss and Damage Fund pledges and replenishments should be honoured without delay, citing the previous Funds have faced deliberately-schemed long, tedious bureaucratic delays in deployment.

Further, the leaders declared that interim host of the Fund should work hard to gain their trust as a credible partner. 

In their declaration, the African leaders also asked Developed countries should stop shifting goalposts urging to be transparent and accountable in their contributions to the Fund.

Finally they called upon all African Leaders and Institutions to stand with people by ensuring Loss and Damage Fund serves its purpose urging them to advance a shared and collective accountability in positioning African people above all personal and partisan political and economic interests, and ramp up pressure on the North to honour their commitments, upholding the imperatives of climate justice.

Loss and Damage 

Loss and damage refers to the negative effects of climate change that occur despite mitigation and adaptation efforts. While mitigation addresses the causes of climate change (like reducing greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation addresses its impacts (like building sea walls to prevent flooding), loss and damage is concerned with the unavoidable and irreversible impacts of the climate crisis.

NDCs in climate change
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